Pack Mule Mentality

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of impulse buying. That’s what I thought. Almost 100% (except for the two of you in denial, and the guy who’s afraid someone might accuse him of swearing allegiance to an iPad).

Well, I’m guilty as charged—even with online shopping. I remember one particular item I just couldn’t live without. I was salivating like Pavlov’s dog when I clicked “Place your Order.” Two months after the package arrived, the box still hasn’t been opened. Has that ever happened to you? (You can put your hands down now)

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our blog show emcee, who bangs a giant gong if you exceed the 100-word limit, is Babs Barker Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the ensemble of practicing fic-titioners in the writers in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.


copyright – Dale Rogerson


Men just aren’t cut out for the rigors of shopping. It’s a neurological gender defect. They don’t have the stamina, determination, or killer instinct to find that last one-of-a-kind item.

Every time I need Brad for something, he’s halfway across the store chatting with another pack mule or fiddling with some trinket in the electronics department.

“Hey, look at this,” he’ll say, as if he found a diamond in a goat’s butt.

“Why don’t we go to sporting goods?” I suggest. “Maybe they have one of those battery-powered shock collars.”

“What do we need that for?”

“To keep you focused.”

*the snippet above is an excerpt from “Black Friday Shopping Tips.” The full story is available in One Idiot Short of a Village.

65 Comments on “Pack Mule Mentality

  1. Dear Gary Less-is-Moore,

    If you believe that nonsense about men not being avid, foam-at-the-mouth shoppers, you’ve never seen my husband in a camping department and the way his eyes light up at the sight of Yeti cooler or a pair of electric socks. Then there’s Guitar Center. (Feel free to ask him why he’s not allowed to go to the latter when I’m with him.) To Tell the Truth, no shopping excursion of mind can come close to the agony…but I digress.
    Perhaps my years working for Hy-Vee has dulled this female’s interest in navigating through hordes of hairy shoppers intent on snorting out the best buys. No diamond hunting here. But if that’s what your pleasure is….COME ON DOWN!


    Babs Barker W(T)F

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Babs Barker W(T)F,

      I have a friend who goes to the guitar store to drool at least once a week. He’s had his way with more guitars than Hugh Hefner had with Playboy centerfolds (but let’s stop with the analogy there).

      I borrowed the line about the diamond from an old Rabbi. Evidently, goats have been a popular source of precious gems for the Jewish people since Noah went shopping for an anniversary gift for his wife while on the ark.

      Have fun on your road trip, and give the grandbabies a hug for me.
      Gary Less-is-Moore

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha, ha. I remember one of my first experiences with mail order after my dad bought our first TV. Once I saved candy wrappers to get a cardboard Howdy Doody puppet. They hawked Three Musketeers candy bars to kiddie viewers on that show. Funny stories as always, Russell. 😀 — Suzanne

    Liked by 3 people

    • I remember the candy bar wrapper coupon racket. Ordering from catalogs was interesting too. By the time you received your package, you’d forgotten what you ordered.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great voice and quite the slice of life you’re written there, Russell. Laughed out loud at the ‘diamond in a goat’s butt’. But as to impulse buying, I have no idea what you’re talking about (says the proud owner of the Hollywood Squares Showtime Collector’s box DVD set).

    Omw, that Hollywood Squares characterization was great. We’re either that or an oversized Brady Bunch!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If I have to look in a goat’s behind to find a diamond, then I’m not going shopping. Blech. And FYI, I do NOT love to shop. At all. I do it only out of necessity and then it’s in-get it-out in a big hurry. I’ll never understand people who can spend a whole day or more just browsing through a mall. Good grief.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t like to go shopping. Yay for online stores. 😀 The shock collar sounds threatening though. Funny story.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ha! Bit harsh that! What does she expect from the poor man? Never, ever go shopping with your bloke – not for clothes or home furnishings anyway. It’s just not fair to put the poor creature through it. And no, I’ve never bought anything on impulse. Ever. Definitely 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going shopping with your spouse is dangerous for the relationship. Connie likes to “putz around” (whatever that means), while I like to pick up what I went to the store for and go home.
      Somehow I’m not convinced by your denial on the impulse front. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As I read this lovely intro, I am reminded I have an order requiring my credit card… No. Not impulse, NECESSITY… I swear.

    As for the shopping thing… Ugh. I am, like Rochelle, NOT a shopper. I “shop like a man” if you will… Enter mall, go directly to store containing my item, pay and get out. Mick, on the other hand was a “Let’s just go see here and wait, let’s stop there and….”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a friend who is the exact opposite of an impulse buyer. This guy researches and analyses a five dollar purchase for two months and still can’t make a decision. When (and if) he does buy something, he’ll agonize over the fact that he might have found it somewhere else at a lower price.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You should see my “pack mule” in Hobby Lobby! Bless his little goat soul…He’s discovered they have a whole aisle of manly models…car, trucks, aircraft, even robotic arms… Now, if he could build the arm and train it to feed the cat on demand…we might have a sale.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hubby was a goat farmer when I married him. Our only regret is that we were never able to afford to buy a farm and establish a herd of our own. He even has ringtones on his phone that are goats calling. The cat… serves the little imp right to be a little scared. Had me up hours before zero dark thirty!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The only time I ever bought anything on impulse online was an inflatable … umm … mattress that I bought! I was very satisfied with its performance …. I mean, it was comfortable to lie on … no, that is, to get a good night’s sleep on. Sometimes an impulse purchase does work out! And speaking of a workout … .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another great, laugh-out-loud story, Russell. And another vote for “as if he found a diamond in a goat’s butt.” for memorable mental image of the week! Cracking job!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. And the benches I’ve seen at the Bon Marche outside the women’s dressing room, loaded with men holding packages, many of them nodding off. (The men, not the packages ~ or maybe both!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Battery-powered shock collars sound like a torture device – yikes! Have mercy on those poor pack mules…they’re already carrying such heavy burdens.
    The only kind of shop I like to visit is one with books.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve recently discovered the joys of online shopping and those collars would sell like hot cakes 😀 As usual a fun write and an enjoyable post comments and all 🙂


  14. Oh dear. I can see my other half wanting one of those collars for me – he is a list shopper while I’m of a wanderer to see what’s there, even if I don’t spent.
    Great characterisation – I felt for her.


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